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Hogging the restaurants

September 3, 2012

A poor turnout greeted my last lunch in Valbonne Square. Sir Tim Berners Lee masquerading as Tony “I invented the internet” Coombs was there with flaming red-haired wife Pat, and, from the English Book Centre, Lin Woolf, my book launch agent, arrived but sadly the Irish contingent decided on a day on the beach in Cannes instead. Jude O Sullivan must have heard that the Cafe Des Arcades had run out of Baileys.

However, that gave me a chance to monopolise the lovely Lin and talk her into staging the launch of my second book on the scariest day of the year, Halloween. The only problem is that I now have to finish it by the end of September, which will require two weeks of full on non drinking toil, a price I am reluctantly willing to pay for the fame and adulation that will inevitably follow. How could I disappoint several of my potential customers who have bulk orders in for the book as Christmas presents for people they don’t like? Imagine how many people’s Christmas I could spoil. No, it must be printed and published for Halloween.

My day was made special however when she ordered and paid for two more copies of my first book due to what she called “unprecedented demand” (I think she meant there had been no demand), taking sales to 200 in total, an utter triumph. I refuse to listen to that nice lady decorator who is of the opinion that our local literary goddess ordered 2 copies for her book shop because I had been stuck on 198 sales for over a month and she felt sorry for me. This is palpable nonsense as Lin said, with the prospect of a new book on the horizon, the back catalogue always receives a boost.

My picture today is a counterpoint to the useless modern “art” that I featured and ridiculed in yesterdays column. I snapped this family of hogs recently to show that there are genuine artists in the area that can make real things of beauty rather than spending time trying to fool people into thinking that something is good or clever, or could be created by a 5-year-old.

Three little pigs, and another one

My last full day in Valbonne will be celebrated in traditional style at Auberge St Donat. The rain gods must be trying to acclimatise myself for a long English winter as the rains rolled in last night and it is still pelting this morning, so the Auberge is a good choice being mostly inside. An array of the usual suspects are gathering including, inevitably, the Wingco who will on this occasion be accompanied by his lovely wife Maryse. I make mention of this because he is often loudly of the opinion that the Auberge St Donat is a men only bastion. Should women be present that moustache bristles and snide asides, mainly it has to be said in jest, such as “well, as a girl she should not be here” are a feature of the day. It should also be said that if the “girl” happens to be that nice lady decorator he enjoys it even more because she is not one for ignoring the bait. So I expect to have some fun at his expense, asking in front of his gorgeous spouse whether his attitude has changed.

Dancing Greg Harris will be there, the Master Mariner Mundell plus a coterie of other regulars. Also promising to make an appearance is the lovely Pippa Maille, head of Currencies Direct France accompanied by the brooding and magnificent latin god that is her husband Gerald, the worst golfer I have ever seen. Pippa will no doubt wish to ensure that I have collected up every last possible client from Valbonne before tomorrows sad departure.

Chris France

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